Cameroon: Use of Treated Mosquito Nets Unsatisfactory

Frances Tim Mbom | 31 Aug 2007
The Post (Buea)

This report underscores the World Health Organization's recent statment on insecticide-treated nets, emphasizing: education and sustained communication on net use; rigorous monitoring and evaluation; the shift to long-lasting insecticidal net distribution.

The District Medical Officer for the Limbe Health area, Dr. Mathilda Manjo, has said less than 30 percent of the recipients of the Government's freely donated anti-mosquito bed nets within her area have been effectively making use of them.

Dr. Manjo told The Post that her office has distributed over 20,000 nets during anti malaria campaigns launched by the Minister of Public Health, Urbain Olanguena Awono, two years ago. According to her, less than 30 percent of the recipients use it effectively, making it difficult for the government to completely curb the malaria pandemic.

She added that some people complained that they don't find it comfortable using the nets because it generates heat while others are simply being reticent about using the net.

The Doctor made it clear that there are no free nets and that the nets are sold at pro-pharmacies, for FCFA 3500.

"Over the years, the malaria parasite has tended to develop resistance to effective and known medications like Nivaquine, Camoquine, Quinine' and so on," Dr. Manjo said

She said the Government, has after a careful analysis come out with a combine therapy as a new strategy to wade off the disease.

New and subsidised drugs such as 'coartem,' sold at FCFA 600 in pro-pharmacies and in private pharmacies, they are sold between FCFA 4000 and 5000.She iterated that for the fight to be won "Mothers and children should use the nets; keep their compounds and surroundings clean and should not allow any stagnant water around their houses," she said.

She added that people should also avoid planting trees that store water like plantains, coco yams and so on," she added.Dr Florence Zeh Kakanou on her part said the major problem is that many recipients no longer come back with the nets for re-treatment after six months.

The treatment on the nets expires after every six months and can only be effective again when retreated. Zeh said the re-treatment cost FCFA 500 and advised that all those who got their nets six months back to wash and bring them back to the Clinic at Down Beach or the District Medical Office.

The anti mosquito fights, as Dr. Zeh puts it, has not been a failure since the nets has reduced the prevalence rate of malaria infection.She added that her clinic used to be crowded with patients, but today they have barely two wards that have patients.

Dock Yard

The Dock Yard Quarters, at Down Beach, Limbe is a marshy settlement with houses built with plank. This area constitutes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and it is easy for mosquitoes to get into houses and meet their targets.

It was one of the reasons why the Minister carried out his symbolic launching of the dual measles/malaria campaign, in which many women got free nets. One of the women, an anonymous source, said ever since she received the net, she has never used it.

She said she uses other anti mosquito repellents, which she burn at night, to evade mosquitoes.

Anna Owoyele and Monica Fuli, on their part say they have been making good use of the nets, "it has really helped to reduce the mosquitoes, because we now sleep comfortably," Owoyele said.